Renewable Energy System Design

Renewable Energy System Design

Renewable Energy System Design is very much determined by a case to case basis. The detailed information gained by Energy Audits, architectural constraints, property orientation, available roof space and alignment, client preferences, financial constraints, solar system types and many other factors all play a part in the final design.

In order to ensure correct design outcomes, Solterra Cape/West Coast design engineers use a market leading Software Design Package that has been developed by top Photovoltaic (PV) engineers in South Africa, specifically for the Sub-Saharan conditions. This software minimises risk of system failure and optimises the cost/ Kw.h.

Hardware and software products used in all our designs are of the highest quality, have the longest lifespan expectancy in the market and exceed local and international legislative approval.

Types of Photovoltaic (PV) systems and designs:

The Grid Tied System

Grid Tied systems are mainly to help with bill reduction. These systems are able to reduce your energy reliance from a service provider but they do not offer any form of backup power.


  • most cost-effective Pv solution
  • no energy storage losses
  • easy to monitor system production and performance
  • very high conversion efficiencies
  • simple installation


  • no backup

Hybrid Systems

Hybrid systems offer you the advantage of both island and grid tied systems. They are currently the Solterra system of choice for many of our clients. Savings plus the bonus of backup in the event of power outages.


  • reliable supply for essential appliances
  • batteries will not be cycling if grid power is available
  • battery backup is only for essential equipment resulting in a reduced battery bank
  • standby batteries in this application can achieve similar life to cyclic batteries in a cyclic application
  • expandable in both the island and grid capacities
  • surplus power is fed back into the grid and not dissipated as in island systems
  • essential applications can be selected and added


  • only partial grid independence is achieved

Island Systems

Island systems are typically installed to reach grid independence. Situations where clients have no access to power, or the cost to council power connection points are too high.


  • grid independence
  • expandable into parallel or three phase
  • reliable power supply with grid/generator backup


  • batteries will be cycling on a daily basis
  • once battery capacity is reached, power generated by the PV system is dissipated
  • battery capacity needs to ensure autonomy for 3 days.

Decentralised Systems

Decentralised systems consist of multiple alternative and fossil fuel energy systems: Solar Dc, and grid and wind DC and grid Island inverters. generators and/ or limited grid power all work together to ensure a stable grid.

Generator/grid power will be used in case all the alternative sources are not supplying what is demanded. The topology of the system allows for the prioritising of energy in order to first utilise alternative sources, then fossil sources, then lastly to cycle the batteries to supply demand. Our decentralised systems are sought after mainly in the lodge and leisure industry.

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12 Sep, 2016